Swimming and Diving begin season with a strength marred by technical difficulties



Katrina Nguyen (’14) dives into the water in one the team’s 2012 meets. Now bigger and taller, she will remain an important asset as an anchoring sprint freestyler.

Hilda Huang, Business Manager

Even the most experienced swimmers and teams have trouble with their equipment. Goggles seemed to be the main offender for the swimmers today, performing acrobatic off-the-head events in seven independent Paly incidents during the last hour of competition. But for head coach Danny Dye, his swimmers’ slips, quips and dips fell second to the magnificent downfall of Paly’s Colorado timing system. Without a computer-verified timing system, no official splits, times and scores will be released before next Monday.

Today’s double dual meet against Menlo-Atherton and Menlo School served as a warm-up for the first league meet of the season, the Palo Alto Spring Invitational, to take place tomorrow afternoon at Paly. Diving began competition on Wednesday, taking a clear team and both individual wins (Serena Yee (’13) took the girls’ competition and Cole Plambeck (’13) took the boys’).

Dual swimmer and diver Alex Francis (’13), who sat as the second diving judge, thought that his team’s performance today demonstrated high quality and potential, but still could have benefited from fewer technical difficulties.

“Losing your goggles is one of the worst feelings in the world,” he said. “When you get in the water, the race basically seems over because you’re not going to do as well as you could because your goggles are off,” he said. “It’s frustrating. The goggle issue is something that will get better as people learn, but we’ll be sure to work on that because it was pretty bad today.”

But, Francis believes that this could be the year the boys’ overtake Bellarmine’s 28-year CCS  [Central Coast Section Championships] win streak. Francis, Plambeck, and two new male divers will provide consequential aid to a talented and spirited young team. Coach Dye said earlier in the preseason that some of his strongest swimmers this year are underclassmen.

“We have a pretty good team this year, and I think we have a good shot at CCS,” Francis said. “We demonstrated that today with a strong showing.”

He also has faith that the goggle problem will resolve itself quickly, and is merely another bump in the road. Ethan Look (’14), who gave his goggles one of the most flamboyant spins today by tossing them mid-race onto the deck, not only swam his 500 yd free blind, but finished third.

In the girls’ team, Molly Zebker (’13) and Karina Goot (’14) took definitive first and second-place finishes in the girls’ 100 yd breaststroke. These results are promising according to teammate Jennifer Chang (’13), who swam for the winning team in the girls’ 4×100 yd free relay. Zebker does not even specialize in breaststroke.

Mimi Lin (’16) did not compete in diving for this meet, though if she does decide to join for the rest of the season, will further bolster the already-strong and experienced girls’ team. Lin finished fourth in the 2012 JO National Championships for 1 meter springboard (age 14-15).

Hopefully, tomorrow all will go well again when Paly hosts over five local high schools. The sheer number of competitors will make manual transcriptions and calculations too slow for the racing, humanoid fish in the water.